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Papers of Hugh Johnson, 1946-1999

Description of Collection


American Institute of Physics. Center for History of Physics.

College Park, MD 20740

Papers created by

Johnson, Hugh M.

Size of collection

4.25 linear feet (9 boxes)

Short description of collection

This collection contains primarily correspondence, with notes, photographs, and notebooks focusing on the research of Hugh Johnson, an astronomer specializing in x-ray astronomy.

Language(s) of collection


Unit ID

AR 1999-212

Biography of Hugh M. Johnson

Hugh Johnson was born on March 4, 1923 in Des Moines, Iowa. He earned his AB in 1948 and his SB in 1949 from the University of Chicago. In 1953 he received his Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Chicago, where he worked as an Assistant Astronomer at Yerkes Observatory from 1950 to 1953. He was an Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa from 1954 to 1959. He was an Associate Professor and Associate Astronomer at the University of Arizona from 1960 to 1962. Johnson was an Associate Scientist at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory during 1962 and 1963. From 1963 to 1986, Johnson was a Staff Scientist at Lockheed Missiles & Space Company. Johnson was also a Research Associate at the Yerkes Observatory from 1953 to 1960, a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University in 1958 and 1959, and a lecturer at Stanford University in 1971 through 1975 and 1980 through 1982. Johnson was a member of the American Astronomical Society and the International Astronomical Union. His research interests included x-ray astronomy, nebulae, galaxies, galactic structure, and interstellar matter.

Scope and Contents of Collection

The collection is centered on Johnson's time at Lockheed Space & Missile Company (1963-1986), with some material from his work before and after this period. The bulk of the research material he saved is on x-ray astronomy. The collection is comprised mainly of correspondence (both professional and personal), with lesser amounts of notes, newspaper clippings, and notebooks. The correspondents include: Helmet A. Abt, Lawrence H. Aller, Frank M. Bateson, Bart J. Bok, Riccardo Giacconi, David S. Heeschen, George Herbig, William Hiltner, W.E. Howard III, Helen Hogg, Willem Luyten, N.U. Mayall, Donald Osterbrock, Stuart Pottasch, Arcadio Poveda, Frederick D. Seward, Lindsey Smith, Theodore Snow, Bruce Stephenson, Polydore Swings, Yervant Terzian, and Gart Westerhout. Some correspondence related to specific research subjects, observatories, meetings, and programs is accompanied by research notes and photographs. The collection also contains notebooks from courses at the University of Chicago (taught by Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Gerard Peter Kuiper, and Bengt Strömgren), the 1964 Hamburg IAU meeting, Yerkes Observatory Colloquia, and an NSF conference for teachers of astronomy at Berkeley in 1954.

Restrictions on Use and Access

This collection is open to researchers except for the Referee Reports, which require permission of the donor or donor's heirs until 2075.

Use of primary source material in the Niels Bohr Library requires prior approval through an Application for Access, which includes a statement of research purpose and the names and addresses of two scholars as references. Access applications can be obtained by contacting the Library (telephone 301-209-3177; or e-mail The application can also be printed from our website.

Selected Search Terms

These papers have been indexed in the International Catalog of Sources for History of Physics and Allied Sciences (ICOS) using the following terms. Those seeking related materials should search under these terms.


Abt, Helmut A.
Aller, Lawrence H. (Lawrence Hugh), 1913-
Bateson, Frank M.
Bok, Bart Jan, 1906-
Chandrasekhar, S. (Subrahmanyan), 1910-
Giacconi, Riccardo.
Heeschen, David S.
Herbig, George.
Hiltner, William Albert, 1914-1991.
Hogg, Helen Sawyer, 1905-
Howard, W. E. III.
Kuiper, Gerard Peter, 1905-
Luyten, Willem Jacob, 1899-
Mayall, N. U. (Nicholas Ulrich), 1906-
Osterbrock, Donald E.
Pottasch, Stuart.
Poveda, Arcadio.
Seward, Frederick D.
Smith, Lindsey.
Snow, Theodore.
Stephenson, Bruce.
Strömgren, bengt, 1908-
Swings, P. (Polydore), 1906-
Terzian, Yervant.
Westerhout, Gart.


American Astronomical Society.
International Astronomical Union.
Lockheed Missiles and Space Company.

Subject terms

Interstellar matter.
X-ray astronomy.

Genre terms


Arrangement/Organization of Collection

This collection has been divided into six series: Series I. Alphabetical Correspondence; Series II. Subject Correspondence; Series III. Johnson-Stephenson Correspondence; Series IV. IAU Tapes Correspondence; Series V. Notebooks; and Series VI. Referee Reports.

The arrangement of the collection follows Johnson's original order. The Alphabetical Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by correspondent and then in reverse chronological order. The folders which contain only one correspondent were originally separated out by Johnson. The Subject Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by subject and then in reverse chronological order. The Stephenson-Johnson Correspondence and the Referee Reports have also been organized in reverse chronological order by date. The IAU Tape Correspondence and Notebooks have been arranged in chronological order.

Provenance and Acquisition Information

The IAU Tapes Correspondence was received from Hugh Johnson in October 1999 and the remainder of the collection was received in March 2000.

Processing Information

The collection was processed by Heather McBride in May and June 2001.

Newspaper articles were photocopied onto acid-free paper and the originals were removed from the collection. All materials were rehoused in archival quality, acid-free folders and boxes.

Preferred Citation of Collection

Cite as: [Folder title, date; Folder number, Box number], Hugh M. Johnson Papers, 1946-1999. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library, College Park, MD, 20740 USA.

Related Collections

Johnson, Hugh M., Address at International Astronomical Union Mtg., 1967; (Highlight of Astronomy-X-Ray Astronomy), Optical and Radio Information. 1967. 7-86-(1-3). Advance notice of two business days is required for use of audio and video tapes.

Administrative Information


Finding Aid to the Papers of Hugh Johnson, 1946-1999


American Institute of Physics. Center for History of Physics.

One Physics Ellipse
College Park, MD 20740

December 28, 2004

Encoding Information

Machine-readable finding aid encoded in EAD 2002 by Katherine A. Hayes on December 28, 2004. Any revisions made to this finding aid occurred as part of the editing and encoding process.

Series I. Alphabetical Correspondence, 1999-1946

Boxes 1-5

This series contains correspondence both sent and received by Johnson. The majority of the correspondence pertains to his research at Lockheed Missiles & Space Company, but also covers some of Johnson's work before 1963. Also contains personal correspondence with other scientists.

Box 1 Folder 1 A 1988-1952
Folder 2 Babcock-Beavers 1991-1947
Folder 3 Becker-Bowyer 1987-1946
Folder 4 Bradt-Butler 1990-1950
Folder 5 Bashkin 1972-1959
Folder 6 Bok 1979-1954
Folder 7 Cameron-Clark 1983-1955
Folder 8 Code-Cummings 1989-1954
Folder 9 D 1987-1959
Folder 10 E 1985-1955
Box 2 Folder 1 F 1988-1957
Folder 2 G 1987-1951
Folder 3 Golson 1972-1969
Folder 4 Golson 1968-1967
Folder 5 Habing-Heeschen 1984-1946
Folder 6 Henize-D. Hogg 1984-1961
Folder 7 H. Hogg-Huth 1980-1947
Folder 8 Herbig 1986-1955
Folder 9 I 1981-1966
Folder 10 J 1986-1953
Box 3 Folder 1 K 1983-1955
Folder 2 L 1986-1957
Folder 3 Maccacaro-Mayer 1988-1952
Folder 4 McCarthy-Mezger 1993-1955
Folder 5 Michalitsianos-Murray 1984-1954
Folder 6 Mayor- Correspondence with Mayor 1992-1983
Folder 7 Mayor- Correspondence with Others and Notes 1986-1984
Folder 8 N 1980-1960
Folder 9 O 1984-1962
Folder 10 Osterbrock 1999-1994
Folder 11 Osterbrock 1993-1988
Box 4 Folder 1 Osterbrock 1987-1985
Folder 2 Osterbrock 1984-1977
Folder 3 Osterbrock 1976-1965
Folder 4 Osterbrock 1963-1952
Folder 5 Pacholczyk-Pismis 1988-1958
Folder 6 Plaut-Purton 1986-1958
Folder 7 R 1986-1955
Folder 8 Sadler-Scott 1995-1955
Folder 9 Seaton-Silk 1986-1953
Folder 10 Simpson-Snijders 1988-1959
Folder 11 Snow-Spinrad 1979-1963
Box 5 Folder 1 Spitzer-Swings 1982-1946
Folder 2 T 1993-1960
Folder 3 U 1983-1973
Folder 4 V 1988-1957
Folder 5 Wade-Weymann 1986-1956
Folder 6 White-Wynn 1986-1958
Folder 7 Westerlund 1979-1960
Folder 8 Y 1977-1973
Folder 9 Z 1983-1969

Series II. Subject Correspondence, 1999-1959

Boxes 5-7

Contains correspondence and some notes regarding Johnson's research work. Most of the research projects took place during his years at Lockheed, but some of the files contain earlier and later notes and correspondence. Some later files pertain to his work as a lecturer at Stanford University and his participation in the American Astronomical Society's Visiting Professor Program.

Box 5 Folder 10 Cerro-Tololo 1984-1969
Folder 11 Eastman Kodak 1969-1961
Folder 12 Edinburgh GALAXY Machine 1976-1968
Folder 13 Far Infrared Characteristics of K Dwarfs with H-Alpha Emission 1985
Folder 14 Galactic X-Ray Statistics and Cluster Sources 1975-1965
Folder 15 Haystock Observatory 1975-1970
Folder 16 HEAO-B Stars 1980-1978
Box 6 Folder 1 IRAS/DRACO 1986-1985
Folder 2 Jones-Chappell Clusters 1985-1981
Folder 3 Kitt Peak National Observatory 1980-1975
Folder 4 Kitt Peak National Observatory 1975-1963
Folder 5 Lx ≥ 1029 (Origins and Ages) 1983-1982
Folder 6 Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) and Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) 1973-1959
Folder 7 M31 Spiral Dust Arms and IAU No. 52 1982-1972
Folder 8 M31 Spiral Dust Arms and IAU No. 52 Photographs
Folder 9 M82 and NGC 4449 1975-1963
Folder 10 Mediterranean, Chinese, and Moslem Astronomy 1960-1959
Folder 11 NGC 5128 (Centaurus A) 1978-1962
Folder 12 NGC 6888 and NGC 2359 1965-1963
Folder 13 NSF Proposal 1980
Box 7 Folder 1 Palomar Observatory (Hale) 1973-1966
Folder 2 Palomar Observatory (Hale) 1965-1961
Folder 3 Publication- "Optical Survey of IRAS Fields in the DRACO Cloud Region" 1986-1985
Folder 4 Rome IAU Symposium 1970-1968
Folder 5 Strömgren Symposium 1978-1977
Folder 6 Peter Sturrock and Stanford 1989-1965
Folder 7 U.K. Schmidt Telescope Unit 1986-1977
Folder 8 Van Biesbroeck 1972
Folder 9 Visiting AAS Professor Program 1999-1969
Folder 10 Visiting AAS Professor Program 1968-1960
Folder 11 VLA/AJ2 - Planetary Nebulae 1984-1977
Folder 12 Wolf 630/EXOSAT 1987-1986

Series III. Johnson-Stephenson Correspondence, 1999-1949

Boxes 7-8

Contains extensive correspondence between Bruce Stephenson and Johnson. Johnson's correspondence files were supplemented by Stephenson's records, which he gave to Johnson in 1994. Much of the correspondence relates to the men's research, their collaborations, and their personal relationship.

Box 7 Folder 13 Correspondence 1997-1976
Box 8 Folder 1 Correspondence 1974-1968
Folder 2 Correspondence 1967-Nov. 1966
Folder 3 Correspondence Oct. 1966-Jan. 1966
Folder 4 Correspondence 1965-1951
Folder 5 Correspondence 1950-1949

Series IV. IAU Tapes Correspondence, 1966-1967)

1 folder

Correspondence about the creation, set up, and administration of the Joint Discussion on X-Ray Astronomy at the Prague meeting of the International Astronomical Union in 1967.

Box 8 Folder 6 Correspondence 1966-1967

Series V. Notebooks, 1950-1954

Box 8

Course notes at University of Chicago: Astr. 301 by Chandrasekhar, Astr. 371 Stellar Spectroscopy by Bidelman, Astr. 377 Stellar Atmospheres II by Strömgren, Astr. 385 Celestial Mechanics by Kuiper, Astr. 386 Interstellar Problems by Strömgren. Also contains notes from Yerkes Observatory Colloquia No. 405-540; from the Hamburg IAU meetings of 1964; and from an NSF conference for teachers of astronomy at Berkeley in 1954.

Box 8 Folder 7 Book 6 1950-1952
Folder 8 Book 10 1952
Folder 9 Book 11 1952
Folder 10 Book 12 1952
Folder 11 Book 15 1952-1954

Series VI. Referee Reports, 1989-1967

Boxes 7-8

Restricted until 2075.

Referee reports on journal articles, funding proposals, and assessments of professional personnel for promotions and society memberships. The reports were made for The Astrophysical Journal, Revista Mexicana de Astronomia y Astrofisica, Nature, the National Science Foundation, NASA, The Astronomical Journal, Cornell, The Geophysical Journal, the American Geophysical Union, Astronomy and Astrophysics, the University of Illinois, and Research Corporation.

The permission of Hugh Johnson or his heirs is required for access to the Referee Reports until 2075.

Box 9 Folder 1 Referee Reports 1989-1983
Folder 2 Referee Reports 1982-1981
Folder 3 Referee Reports 1980-1978
Folder 4 Referee Reports 1977-1974
Folder 5 Referee Reports 1973-1967